(1826 – 1889)
The literary pseudonym Shchedrin (1826-1889) is a prose writer, publicist, critic.
The great Russian satirist Saltykov-Shchedrin was born and raised in a wealthy landlord family, but in the house there was an atmosphere of stinginess, mutual enmity, hypocrisy and inhumanity.
Saltykov studied first at the Moscow Nobility Institute and as an excellent student was sent to St. Petersburg, to the Tsarskoe Selo Lyceum. In 1844 Saltykov graduated from the Lyceum and enlisted in the Ministry of War.
In his first works, the writer opposed social inequality. The hero of his story The Confused Affair (1848), the social structure of Russia was represented in the form of a huge pyramid of people, at the base of which are poor people, hounded by the unbearable burdens of life. Nicholas I found in the story “the desire to spread revolutionary ideas,” so in 1848 a young writer was exiled to Vyatka, where he spent 8 years. Only after the death of the tsar, in 1855, the writer was able to return to St. Petersburg.
In 1857, a new book of the writer – “Provincial Sketches”. The work was directed against landlord oppression and bureaucratic arbitrariness.
In the sixties the great satirist resolutely opposed the autocracy in his remarkable book The History of a City (1869-1870), in which he sought to destroy the people’s faith in a “good king.” In this work, Shchedrin drew a horrifying picture of people’s lack of rights, grief and misery (see “The History of a City”).
From 1868 to 1884 he published all his works only on the pages of “Otechestvennye zapiski”. Readers of the magazine get acquainted with the cycle of satirical stories and essays Saltykov: “Pompadour and Pompadour” (1863-1874), “Letters on the Province”... (1868), “Signs of Time” (1868), “The Lords of Tashkent” (1869-1872) (1872-1876), “In a Medium of Moderation and Accuracy” (1874-1877), “The Refuge of Monrepos” (1878-1879), “Letters to Auntie” (1881-1882), novels of “Lord Golovleva” (1875). -1880) and “The Modern Idyll” (1877-1883). Saltykov creates a kind of satirical encyclopedia of Russian life.
The most popular are the tales of Saltykov-Shchedrin. His first fairy tales were published in 1869: “
Fairy tales are the result of many years of life observations of the writer. In them he acts as a defender of people’s interests, an exponent of people’s ideals, advanced ideas of his time (see M. Saltykov-Shchedrin’s Tales).
Among the works of the great satirist, his novels “The Lord Golovlevs” (1875-1880) and “Poshekhonskaya Starina” (1887-1889) occupy a special place. In the novel “The Lord of Holovleva” three generations of the Golovlev family are shown. People of this family, unfit for work, mentally empty, hate and are afraid of each other. There is an unceasing family war. Golovlyov’s masters are ruined by their very warehouse of life, full of idleness and parasitism. Here neither the sick, nor the weak, nor the dying are spared. (See “The Lord of the Golovlyovs”).
In the novel “Poshekhonskaya Starina” the writer painted terrible pictures of serf life, and in the book “Little Tricks of Life” (1886) Shchedrin showed the tragedy of the life of “small”, ordinary people.
Many Shchedrin satirical types experienced their epoch and their creator. They became common names, denoting the new social phenomena of Russian and world life, which simultaneously have their own ancient genealogy.
Throughout his life, Saltykov-Shchedrin has preserved his faith in his people, his history. “I love Russia painfully heartily and I can not even think of myself anywhere except Russia.”